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RE: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #1476

> Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 12:25:39 EST
> From: D0NxD0N at aol_com
> Subject: Re: PH Problems? 
> Gregory Gooden wrote:
> "One of my tanks is a 125 Gallon. It's been set up for over 6 
> years now. Has 
> 3.5 inches of "fine" natural gravel, not quite sand. It gets 
> "vacuumed" 
> occassionally, but hasn't been changed in that 6 years.  It 
> currently has an 
> Eheim "ThermoFilter" cannister, a Fluval 404 (with 15watt UV 
> Sterilizer), a 
> Magnum 350 (attached to the bio-wheels) and an EboJager 150watt.. 
> "
> Hmmm... you didn't mention how much lighting you had previous 
> to adding the 3 
> watts/gallon. What was it? What was your fertilization 
> routine? What type of 
> plants do you keep? You weren't also doing any water changes 
> during the 3.5 
> years?

Actually, sorry I wasn't clear about that.. It used to have 4 40watt tubes (standard flourescents), but I REPLACED those with the new AH Supply stuff (making for an OLD wattage of 160 and a NEW wattage of 292). 

> "For a long time, I've had pretty good success with it, 
> including plants. But 
> starting about 6 months ago, I started battling SERIOUS algae 
> problems. At 
> first, it was brush algae. So I added 3.0 watts per gallon 
> (2x96 and 2x50) of 
> Compact Flourescent (love those guys at AH Supply!) and added 
> a CarboPlus to 
> pump up some CO2 in there along with very minimal additions 
> of TMG and Fe 
> cause I'm inspired by ya'lls plant tanks! (this, 
> coincidentally, is roughly 
> the same time I found this list, so I found lots of great 
> advice! Thanks!). 
> "
> Wait a minute... You ADDED 3 watts/gallon to your previous 
> lighting setup? By 
> doing this and only putting in minimal additions of TMG and 
> Fe then you 
> started feeding the algae. Am I right in that you weren't 
> adding any sort of 
> fertilizer to the tank before you added the lighting? What's 
> the grand total 
> of watts/gallon of lighting do you have over your tank now? 
> You need to 
> balance out your lighting, fertilizer and CO2 in order to 
> kill off this algae 
> problem.

I used to add SOME fertilizer before the lites got replaced, but never in any great quantity (it always makes me nervous! Lol). 

Grand Total Watts NOW: 292
> "So I took OUT the carbo plus and replaced with cannister CO2 
> and a CO2 
> injector. Pearling was immediate (and only on the algae! :( 
> ).  I halted ALL 
> nutrient additions (TMG, Fe, Discus Trace, etc.). "
> ::Cringe:: You were providing the plants only lights and CO2 
> and they were 
> therefore inhibited by growing by the lack of fertilizer. 
> They can't grow in 
> this condition and therefore aren't able to battle algae. The 
> addition of 
> fertilizer/nutrients does not cause algae by itself. The 
> imbalance between 
> your lighting, fertilization and CO2 is what causes it.

Yeah, I'm beginning to see my stupidity there... ;>

> "GH: 4
> KH: 2
> PH: 6.4 (it's remained there for ages due to distilled water changes)
> NO3: 50 m/gl
> PO4: 2.4 (yeah, HIGH!)
> TEMP: 85f
> "
> Notice how low your kH is. Did you know that the CarboPlus 
> lowers kH? What's 

I did NOT know that actually!

> m/gl? Isn't that supposed to be mg/l?

Yeah, mistyped.. 

> If it is and that 
> number for PO4 is in 
> ppm or mg/l then BOTH your NO3 and PO4 are high. The plants 
> can't take in any 
> of those macro nutrients since they don't have any of the 
> other nutrients. So 
> the NO3 and PO4 are left for the algae to dine on. It's 
> possible to have PO4 
> in high quantities but NO3 has to be balanced w/ that. I 
> think Tom Barr has 
> done experiments w/ having high quantities of PO4 w/o causing 
> algae problems. 
> I think he came to the conclusion that adding PO4 above 2 ppm 
> is useless. Tom 
> B, care to chime in on this?
> "GH: 4
> KH: 3.5
> PH: 7.2 (!!!!!)
> NO3: 75 m/gl (increased?)
> PO4: .5
> TEMP: 85f
> "
> These values aren't surprising. By increasing your kH you'll 
> also increase 
> your pH. By continuing to do RO changes you are continually 
> taking out ANY of 
> the much needed micronutrients that are needed by the plants 
> to fight off the 
> algae. Get your lights, fertlization and CO2 in order and 
> you'll see your 
> algae start to recede.

I'm gonna do just that!
> "So for some reason, a totally stable pH (stable for a  long time) is 
> suddenly HIGHER without buffers present AND with injected 
> CO2... Algae 
> thrives and plants do NOT (cept for the cabomba and jungle val!). 
> "
> Baking Soda is a buffer.

So if I need to raise KH, is that the right thing to use, or is there something better? (perhaps just occassional TAPWATER use for a water change?). 

> "Now, HOPEFULLY someone will see something STUPID (I've been 
> known to be just 
> that.. Grin) that I'm doing (perhaps just making changes too 
> fast??), but 
> here's another clue..
> "
> Yup, you made changes to too many things waaayyy too fast. 
> Whoaaa... wait a 
> minute. I just did some math on your lighting. You said "I 
> added 3.0 watts 
> per gallon (2x96 and 2x50) of Compact Flourescent" but for a 
> 125 gallon tank 
> that's only 2 x 96 + 2 x 50 = 292 watts and therefore only 2.336 
> watts/gallon. Am I right in that you had 83 (?!) watts on 
> your tank before 
> you added this lighting to get a grand total of 3 watts/gallon.

Yeah, I blew it on expressing what was there.. Heh... Is 2.336 watts per gallon "okay"? 

> In any case here is something you can try-
> Cut back on the lighting to just your power compacts. That 
> should give you 
> about 2.3 watts/gallon.

Okay, so it's there right now.. :)

> Keep your CO2 levels.

Kay... This is my first real experience with CO2, so I'm always afraid of overdoing it, but I did put it on a pH controller so it won't get outta hand. 

> Start dosing your fertilizer again to the recommeded levels on their 
> respected bottles.

Okay, I've got lots of different things to dose, and I don't wanna overdo it (but clearly I'm underdoing it right now)... 

I've got: 

Flourish Iron
Flourish Potassium

I suspect I should use EITHER TMG or Flourish, but either way dose the IRON and Potassium, no? 

> STOP doing changes w/ RO water.

Ahh, so use tapwater instead to keep KH high (this will increase hardness & phospate too), right? 

> PATIENCE is the key. It will take you weeks to get things 
> back in order.

Cool. I'll mellow out on it and be slow and deliberate... (the crazy changes GOT me here!)
> By the way, I DO think that your algae is BGA. But to make 
> sure take some of 
> the filmy algae in your hand and SNIFF it. Does it smell like 
> a swamp?? =D If 
> it does then it's BGA. As you said, its a bacteria and not an 
> algae. 

It's not a BAD odor (certainly not sulfery or unpleasant), but more like musty & crisp (maybe like fresh cut asparagus).. 

> How long 
> has it been since you did maintenance on your Eheim?

About 45 days.. It's full of efisubstrat ONLY. I generally mess with each filter every 60 days (but never at the same time). The Fluval404 gets clogged a lot tho, but I don't "change it out" when that happens.. I just rinse the pads. 

> Check 
> the archives and 
> The Krib for ways to battle this cyanobacteria. 

I will, and THANKS to everyone who responded!!



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